Saturday, February 12, 2011


The wee garden birds and the not so wee ones, have not been visiting my garden bird feeders in any number and I have been puzzling about this. Could it be, I wondered, the change of feed. The local shops were out of packets of seed as so many people were putting out food. So, in the depths of the Arctic blast we had, I went to a local farm shop and bought about 20 kilos of their ordinary bird seed mix. Could the seed really have been totally different...surely, bird seed is what it is. The peanut house, which holds a kilo of nuts was not going down very fast either. I had not changed my nut supplier.

Perhaps the birds were well supplied with the thoughtfulness of all the other people feeding them and they did not need my offerings. I continued to wait and watch. The other morning, I believe I was presented with the true and not so palatable answer. As I gazed through the window a sparrow hawk flew close by; close enough for me to see a small bird being carried in its claws.


Anonymous said...

It's never the food as they're not that fussy!
A sparrowhawk will certainly keep them away, not surprisingly.
I've had a similar problem the past few days, but it's a cat that's been lurking nearby.
Good photo! Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Cats seem to be the main predators that affect the urban bird. We did have a couple of cats a year or two ago that gave up patiently waiting for the birds, as the birds were wise to their antics and didn't toddle on the ground when furry friends were around. Also, the feeder is by a prickly bush which pokes through the fence. Neither of the cats were too enamoured with it! They stalked field mice and shrews instead.

The sparrow-hawk hunting is another story. It was eyeing up feeding possibilities when the Arctic weather stormed in at the end of November. It did not stop the birds feeding though, as it was not visiting regularly at that time. Bird feed was in demand then.

The bird picture was taken a on a pleasant day during Autumn 2010


Anonymous said...

the most distressing time of year for birds around here is spring when all the chicks are tweeting loudly in their nests and attracting all the local cats.

yes, food is plentiful then but when the parents fly off to find food they never know if the babies will still be there when they return.

ZACL said...

Hello Ax,

It sounds like your local bird population nest at fairly low levels where cats are happy to prey on their nests. It's a shame. Nature is perverse.

Some friends have two cats, they are a semi-feral mother and daughter. Their hunting instincts are strong, though it's the younger of the two that is usually described as 'out killing things'. What we've seen, once, was bird feathers in the house, otherwise, its the usual rodent offerings and the odd dragon fly or two.